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Pyramiden, Russia

Both the world’s most northerly Cold War frontier and one of two Russian claims in the Arctic, the small coal mining community of Pyramiden supported several thousand people at its height before suffering economic hardship in the 1980s. In an attempt to resettle the community in the neighboring site of Barentsburg, aircraft carrying women and children from Pyramiden crashed, leaving no survivors. When the men of Pyramiden heard of the tragedy they abandoned the site as soon as they could, forsaking artifacts of their lives together. Years passed in the frozen tundra, the elements both preserving and eating away at various sections of the settlement, before our ship arrived.

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